What got me started?
I like how coffee connects people and often ponder about the lack of interaction between people with special needs and mainstream society. Marrying these two notions, Foreword Coffee was born.
I didn’t want to just run a coffee company, unless I could do something more and worthwhile with it. What if every cup could help change things? What if it could do more for the Earth too?
On top of employing people with special needs, I also wanted the business to do good for the environment. I realised that I could actually do something about the large amount of waste produced by the café industry from using single-use disposable cups.
What was your first project?
Foreword Coffee was incorporated in April 2017, with its first outlet at NUS. We’ve since moved to Civil Service College, and expanded to a second outlet at the Centre for Healthcare Innovation. As a young coffee company, we have experimented with a range of initiatives, just to see what works for both my business and the environment.
Since our first day of business, we’ve been implementing a “Bring Your Own Cup” policy, where customers get 10% off if they bring their own cups. Here at Foreword Coffee, we also allow customers who are staff working in the building to borrow our dine-in cups and return at their convenience before we close for the day. For cold takeaway orders, we shy away from using plastic cups and serve them in paper cups with lids; this eliminates the need for straws. If we have to use single-use disposable cups to serve our drinks, we avoid putting on the lids. This leaves our customers to decide if they really need that extra piece of plastic over the cup and they can help themselves to the lids. As much as possible, we try to nudge our customers into doing what’s good for the environment.